With Exit Polls Looking Hopeful, Netanyahu Tries to Form Government [Updated]

The polls have closed in Israel, which means that information on exit polls can now be published. With a major caveat–we have seen in the U.S. how far off the mark exit polls can be–it seems that they look pretty positive for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

The first exit polls were released Tuesday at 10 p.m. as voting closed in elections for the 20th Knesset, suggesting a surprisingly good showing for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party versus Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Union. While Likud had trailed by as many as five mandates in pre-election polls, Netanyahu’s party led the Zionist Union in one exit poll and was tied with Herzog’s party in the two others.

Given these relatively positive signs, Netanyahu reportedly is talking with Naftali Bennett, leader of the conservative Bayit Yehudi. It may be some time before we find out who has been able to assemble a coalition that commands a majority of the Knesset. But for now, at least, it seems that the news is not as ominous as it could have been.

UPDATE: More here and here.